By Noah Hubbell
By Kiernan Maletsky
By Tom Murphy
By Noah Hubbell
By Alex Distefano
By Darryl Smyers
By Jon Solomon
By Britt Chester
Sounding like the unexpected but inevitable pairing of Phil Spector-produced wall-of-noise pop and the free-spirited sonic experimentation of early shoegaze bands like Telescopes, Medicine and My Bloody Valentine, Montreal's No Joy came to the attention of fans and critics alike on the strength of its debut seven-inch, "No Summer/No Joy," in late 2009. The group's primary songwriters, Jasmine White-Gluz and Laura Lloyd, pushed their songwriting further between a busy touring schedule, resulting in No Joy's debut full-length, the luminous and gritty Ghost Blonde. We recently had a chat with White-Gluz about her development as a musician, the aesthetics behind No Joy's arresting sounds, and the joys and pitfalls of being on the road.
Westword: What led to your creating the kinds of guitar rock that you do now rather than the more punk-oriented music of your adolescence?
Jasmine White-Gluz: I think there's always a development that happens. Starting out playing music that would be more along the lines of the grunge-era stuff of the '90s — once I got comfortable with that, it led me to experiment a little bit more with guitar tones and guitar sounds and get a little more geeky with amps and pedals. Once you start plugging into different amps and pedals and settings and you become interested in that, getting into shoegaze music is kind of a no-brainer. It's basically porn for guitar fans. There's something punky about shoegaze music, too, because of the fact that it creates its own rules.
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There's a gorgeous, echoing yet edgy, dirty sound to your music that is hazily incandescent, even on songs like "Still." What is it about that sound that appeals to you?
Some people write songs so they can tell a story or get something across. For me, it's more like making it a soundscape that maybe triggers something in the listener so that they can think of something themselves. We just want to create a sonic landscape that has somewhat of a narrative to it. Using the dissonant vocals and guitar effects allows us to do that.
What has been the most enjoyable aspect of being a touring band, and what have been the most striking moments that prove it's not as glamorous as one might think?
Hmm...there are so many. Obviously, the perk is getting to play music for people and getting to meet a lot of different bands and playing all these cities and going to venues. But it does suck to drive through Wyoming at four o'clock in the morning and sleep on people's floors and eat gas-station food for six weeks in a row. It's like a glorified road trip, except that you get to sort of have a job.